Refugee-friendly syn­a­gogue is hop­ing for a full house

The Jewish Chronicle - - COMMUNITY NEWS - BY JC RE­PORTER

WHEN RABBI Janet Dar­ley re­tired as min­is­ter of South Lon­don Lib­eral Syn­a­gogue last sum­mer, the com­mu­nity’s part­ing gift was a com­mit­ment to, quite lit­er­ally, build on her sup­port for refugees.

On Shab­bat, Rabbi Dar­ley was back at the Streatham-based shul as it for­mally launched a £50,000 ap­peal to turn part of its build­ing into a home for refugees from war-torn coun­tries such as Syria.

Board of Deputies chief ex­ec­u­tive Gil­lian Mer­ron joined other faith and com­mu­nity lead­ers from across Lon­don at the ser­vice, where plans for the Abra­ham’s Tent project were out­lined. Around £9,000 has al­ready been do­nated and Rabbi Dar­ley said af­ter­wards that she was en­cour­aged by the wide­spread sup­port for the ven­ture.

“It is only when a house or flat is made avail­able to a lo­cal au­thor­ity that a fam­ily can be re­set­tled here and be­gin to build their lives.”

Through her in­volve­ment in the Refugees Wel­come group in Lam­beth, she had shared in the ex­cite­ment of refugee chil­dren start­ing school. “See­ing them grow and flour­ish shows how lives can be trans­formed through of­fer­ing shel­ter and wel­come.

“Ju­daism teaches that the world as it is is not the way it has to be — and that we must be en­gaged in bring­ing about the just world we as­pire to. This is a won­der­ful way to make a dif­fer­ence and work with our neigh­bours to do so.”

No date has been set for the com­mence­ment of build­ing work, which is ex­pected to take a month. Project rep­re­sen­ta­tives want to dis­cuss lo­gis­tics with Lam­beth Coun­cil, through which the ac­com­mo­da­tion will be of­fered.

Stu­dent rabbi Nathan Godle­man led the Shab­bat ser­vice, which was fol­lowed by a home-cooked meal for the con­gre­ga­tion.

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